RLS Problems: "Now, Just Hold Very Still"
Last updated: May 2022
I have never been able to sit still. I am a leg shaker, man. Or a foot jangler. I am a pacer when I am on the phone. I change positions constantly when sitting down.
It isn't nerves or anxiety. It is mostly discomfort. Partly the antsy restless legs syndrome (RLS) I get sometimes for sitting for way too long in situations where I can't get up and walk about. Partly from chronic pain where I get a lot of pain and stiffness from being in any one position for too long.
'Okay, now be very still'
I had to go for an MRI recently. I do them fairly regularly to monitor some suspicious demyelinating brain lesions, just to see if I develop more or if they change in any way. I am so used to the clankity-clank, bing-bangy MRI machine that I actually can start to doze off in there, even though the thing sounds like a rocket about to take off.
However, you have to be quite still or it rather messes up the pictures they are taking. Cool. I can be still. I am practically sleeping, so that's pretty still. Right?
Well, not so much, because apparently, my legs do not like to be still for any real length of time. My appointment was in the afternoon, but not so late that my RLS had kicked in. I did have tingling in my feet, but nothing bothersome. However, I do have a fairly typical need to move my legs constantly with my RLS, and other milder RLS symptoms in the day, and sometimes more intense daytime symptoms.
The consequences of having to keep still
You might be familiar with this problem. You have to be still, for whatever reason. Like being stuck in a huge metal tube for a scan of your brain noodle. And you're still as can be.
Then getting itchy. Man, sure would be nice if I could scratch that insane itch. Whoo. That is getting totally annoying.
But I ignore it like a champ. Mostly because I am stuck in a tube and can't reach my legs to scratch them. Nevertheless, I keep STILL. Victory is mine!
Then BOOM! My left leg shoots out like it is trying to kick the winning shot in soccer. Well, yeah, that was one heck of a twitch.
It's cool. I got it out of my system. It won't happen again.
Ten minutes later... BAM! My leg does a massive kick like it is trying to do the steps to an Irish jig.
'That wasn't me. It was the RLS!'
Not my fault. I obviously have no control over those massive twitches that happen when I don't do regular controlled movements.
I do the same thing all night long since I also have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). However, that is just nice twitches and kicks at night that my spouse gets to appreciate in the shin.
Anyway, my MRI turned out fine. Well, in the sense my little erratic dance didn't ruin it.
Have you ever had to try your hardest to curb your urge to move during a medical procedure like an MRI? What other situations can make keeping still an impossible task? Share with us in the comments below!
Do you find that what you eat or drink impacts your RLS symptoms?